Warner Music Group's newly established Arts Music division has acquired independent London-based musical theatre record label First Night Records Ltd. The company will be overseen by WMG Arts Music President Kevin Gore. John Craig, First Night co-founder, will join the Arts Music team as a consultant, working to identify and record U.K. cast albums.
“First Night Records is not just a record company; it represents almost all of my working life,” says Craig. “I am pleased that the catalog is going to WMG, who in the last few years have shown they want to be in the cast recording business. It will be nice to see some of our iconic recordings given a new lease of life through WMG’s aggressive marketing. Kevin Gore is a real record man, someone who has come up through the ranks and embraced the new media and all its benefits. I think it will be a wonderful partnership.”
Founded in 1984 by Craig and Tony Edwards with the original London cast album of Singin' in the Rain, First Night found its first global success with Les Misérables, releasing its London cast album in 1986. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA in 1998. The label has gone on to become the exclusive label for shows produced by Cameron Mackintosh, including Miss Saigon, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, and The Witches of Eastwick.
“I’ve known John Craig for more than two decades, and I’ve long admired him personally, the business he’s built and the fantastic reputation he’s developed over his 35 years running First Night Records," said Gore. "He’s recorded some of musical theatre’s most iconic shows, we’ve already collaborated on four new cast recordings over the last 18 months, and I look forward to our continued partnership for years to come. To also have the support of Sir Cameron Mackintosh means the world to me.”
The deal follows several acquisitions by WMG's Arts Music, including Sesame Street Records and imprints with Cloudco Entertainment and Build-A-Bear Workshop.